By Sebastine Obasi
INDIGENOUS company, Neconde Energy Limited, which is the exploration and production arm of Obijackson Group, said it plans to achieve 60,000 barrels per day, bpd, crude evacuation, through barges from oil mining lease, OML 42, by the end of 2017.
Managing Director of the company, Mr. Frank Edozie, who stated this in a media chat in Lagos, said that the recourse to evacuation by barges was necessitated by the unreliability of the Trans Forcados Pipeline, which has suffered spate of vandalism over time.
Edozie said the company has taken some strategic steps, such as the rehabilitation of the Batan and Odidi flow stations, to enable it achieve the targeted level. He explained that before the spate of pipeline vandalism that characterised the assets, OML 42, originally owned by Shell, was producing between 230,000 and 250,000 bpd as at 2006. According to him, Neconde bought the oil field in 2012 with the expectation that it would inherit the operatorship from Shell. However, the government of the day did not keep to the arrangement.
“That was the basis on which the bid was made and that was the basis on which the asset was acquired. But shortly after Neconde emerged the winner, the federal government changed the goal post and assigned the operatorship to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). It was only in February 2017 that Neconde and NPDC came together to form Asset Management Team that is responsible for the operatorship of the asset,” he said. “The target during acquisition was 100,000 bpd, but because there was no production from February 13, 2016 to June 2017, all the projections failed. The pipelines were down, but we had to service bank loans. So, we had to take unusual measures to service the loans. OML 42 sits on swamps. We developed a method of producing oil into barges that is sea-going tankers that take the crude into ships where ocean-going tankers will go and lift the crude. Instead of producing 100,000 bpd, we were producing between 15,000 bpd and 17,000 bpd,” Edozie said.
According to him, Neconde plans to evacuate 45,000 bpd by September when its barging operation becomes fully operational and 60,000 bpd by the end of 2017. As regards allegation of five percent equity being demanded by the host communities, the MD said, “It came as a surprise to hear that Gbaramatu Traditional Council said that they are entitled to five per cent equity in the asset. There was no such agreement; no such consideration and no such document assigning such equity to the community.
“The claim is totally unfounded and has no basis. We have invited the community or any individual with such document to come forward. We had a meeting with the community at Okporoza and what became obvious was that they have a number of grievances. The outcome of the meeting is that we now have a basis of understanding. We have ongoing dialogue and the dialogue will make them understand the realities and also help us understand their grievances.”